If you're hot for certainties, I'll provide you with dusty answers. It's Klawchat.
Can you tell us why Yasiel Puig missed out?
A better question would be why he'd belong. He barely played, and his season ended with surgery to address a staph infection, so we don't have performance data to support his case. He is strong, and I think there's plus power there, but I don't think he's a great pure hitter, and while he runs well for his size he's clearly a corner outfielder. I've also said before that, having shaken the man's hand, he's one of the oldest-looking 21-year-olds I've ever met. He may be very good, but I don't think he's a star, and I don't think I could justify a high ranking given what I saw when he played.
Noticed Syndergaard was ranked relatively low on your list compared to most top prospects list, reasons?
Those other lists are wrong, obviously.
This has GOTTA be a typo, right?
Arenado had no real case to be on here either. He wasn't good in AA, he played with very little energy (something, I should note, I heard from many scouts, all from different orgs), and he was never a high-ceiling guy before but a high-probability guy because he looked like he had a great feel for hitting. Now that it's clear he's not so high-probability, what do we have left?
Why did James Paxton miss out?
Poor command, lack of an average third pitch, walked a man every other inning as a 23-year-old in AA.
defensively, is gary sanchez better now than jesus montero ever was?
The soft bigotry of low expectations ... but yes.
You like Toronto's decision to basically make Sanchez untouchable while making D'Arnaud available?
Yes, I do.
If Hak-Ju Lee can hit an empty .280, does he last in the majors as a regular SS because of his defense?
Yes. For a long time. Also gets a boost because he can run.
Hey Keith, thanks for another top 100 list. One of the scouting phrases that has always confused me saying that a pitcher can't get enough "plane" on his fastball. Whereas a fault one might have with a pitcher's fastball is that it's too "flat." This seems intuitively contradictory because in geometry, a "plane" is a flat 2-D area. Can you clarify what this means for me? Thanks!
Plane in that context refers to downhill plane. You're interpreting plane as the one parallel to the ground, which, in baseball terms, is the bad one.
very disappointed to hear about the podcast. will you be podcasting again soon?
Something is in the works, and I hope we can announce it soon. I can't say anything more.
Does Jonathan Schoop have 20 HR potential? And do you think he stays at 2B or SS in the longterm?
I think he does, but at 2b or 3b, not SS. I love his swing and his approach is good. He was just way too young for where he played this year.
I'm a met fan and noticed that a guy like Jennry Mejia isn't on the list. provided he is coming off an injury, but what is the scouting on him?
He's not eligible - lost his rookie status already.
Teheran. He looked pretty solid when he was called up last year. Did the braves try to tweak some things with him last year? 15-3 in AAA 2011 is no fluke.
Minor league won-lost records can very well be flukes. They don't tell us anything about a pitcher's ability. Teheran has a great arm, doesn't get enough plane on the fastball, and doesn't have a consistent average or better breaking ball.
Obligatory Klawchat Dan Vogelbach question
Obligatory reference to his weight
If you had to toss a 20-80 grade on this list of 100 as a whole, what would it be?
I'd give myself an 80, frankly.
I think you are giving over-reacting to Addison Russell's strong performance in the lower minors after the draft. You have him 12 spots higher than Byron Buxton a player you had at the top of the draft. He has good speed but his K% was a bit high.
Begging the question. Russell's ranking isn't a reflection of his pro performance - Buxton hit pretty well in pro ball too. Russell's ranking is a reflection of how much more likely he seems now to be able to stay at short, and how advanced his overall approach was in pro ball. I heard from more than one source that, in a redraft today, Russell would be the top guy. Having seen Russell myself in July, I'm buying it.
SSSSSOOOO.........I'm not the future anymore??
Average regular at best.
What is your opinion of Pederson, near top 100?
Joc? No. Tools are not there. He's young, but not a great athlete, and not a high upside guy. Saw him a lot in AFL, and even giving him credit for his youth, I saw a fourth outfielder.
Houston is 4th largest market in US. Payroll is about $20 million. Shouldn't MLB be upset about this and do something?
Can you argue that they're doing something wrong? Their strategy is sound. Leave them alone and go bother the Marlins.
Robbie Erlin has been left off every prospect list I have seen this far. Jim Callis says he is still a back of the rotation starter,,injury history and size his issue or more of a bullpen guy?
I'm with Jim. Erlin can pitch, but the fastball is a 45 without life and he's going to be homer-prone as a starter.
Do you think Jose Ramirez ends up as a starter down the road or in the pen?
If I had any reason to believe he'd stay healthy for 30 starts, I'd say starter, and I would have had him on the top 100. The stuff is there.
Could you list your top 20 MLB-READY (should be promoted to ML some point THIS SEASON) prospects? Thanks.
I'll be writing that up for Tuesday.
Chances Darin Ruf can be an everyday player in the big leagues?
How high do you see Kohl Stewart being drafted? High enough to keep him away from being a two sport star at Texas A&M?
He's hurt - strained his shoulder playing football, won't throw until at least March.
Most overrated prospect by fans.....Mike Olt?
He'd be in the mix. Solid player, not a star. Syndergaard, but that may just be a function of unverified reports he threw 102 plus the coverage he got when he was traded. Also a solid prospect. I'm ignoring the guys like Ruf, Gattis, Junior Lake, Szczur, fringy guys who are treated by their own fans as future stars.
How close was Pierce Johnson?
Wasn't. Arm action scares me. Would at least like to see a full healthy year first, since he's had so much forearm trouble.
What are your thoughts on Stefen Romero?
Not buying him at 2b. Can hit for average, though.
Do you see Trevor Rosenthal as an elite closer or a #2 pitcher in the future?
Starter. Maybe #3 instead of
What are you thoughts on Victor Black?
Good luck getting him to throw enough strikes.
Oscar Taveras future star?
He's second on my list. Obviously I think he's an extra outfielder.
Did Singletons suspension lower his stock on your list?
No. Little reefer madness doesn't bother me.
Hey Keith, question. All things considered, why so low on Olt? I thought his defense was good. For instance is a corner outfielder with moderate power who hits for average (Castellanos) more valuable than a 3b who hits for power and walks but doesnt hit for a high average? Do you not trust Olt's hit tool?
Exactly. I think he's a low-average/high-contact guy. Still a good player thanks to the defense, but I don't buy Olt as a star - I don't believe he'll end up a 5+ WAR player, to be more specific.
Do you feel you get better each year in putting together a Top 100, or is it just the nature of the beast that there will always be inherent uncertainty in how players will develop?
I really hope I get better, but that's not for me to say - it's for all of you.
What do you think of Trayce Thompson?
70 defender who will be lucky to strike out in under 30% of his PAs.
Did Lance McCullers Jr. get any consideration? How optimistic are you at this point he'll remain a SP?
It's 50/50 at best for me. He wasn't a consideration for the 100, but he's the kind of guy who could answer a lot of questions with a strong 120-inning pro debut and shoot on to the middle of the list.
Are you confident enough in Jackie Bradley Jr's ability that you would like Jacoby walk at the end of the year and hand the CF/ lead off spot to Jackie?
If I'm Cherington, that is my plan, yes.
Tough to predict, sure, but what does Josh Bell need to do to make the list next year? Start with be healthy, then...
He needed those AB he missed, badly. In his three weeks of playing, he looked pretty rough at the plate ... but was that a lack of discipline, a small sample size issue, or the shock of facing substantially better competition? We have no idea. He was on the list last year and if the issue wasn't that he's terribly raw at the plate, he'll be on it again next year.
Hey Keith, good work as usual. My question is regarding Danny Hultzen. You note his undeniably putrid performance at AAA as part of the reason for where you ranked him. Do you agree with the advanced metrics that seem to hint things weren't as bad as they seemed? 10.54 k/9; .351 BABIP; 4.29 FIP in AAA.
I do not believe advanced metrics like those are as relevant or useful for players in the minors.
I've seen Kolten Wong as high as top 25 on other lists. Not saying he deserved that but why so low on yours? Especially since 2B isn't the deepest position for talent.
Low ceiling. He'll have to hit .320 or so to be a star. I would hesitate to put that expectation on almost any prospect.
Best bet of guys on my list to hit .320 in the majors: Yelich.
Is Allen Webster ahead of Matt Barnes simply because he is closer to major league ready?
Webster has way better stuff, is a better athlete, and has a better delivery. Barnes has much better present command.
If you watched the Super Bowl commercials, it seems that Subway hasn't yet realized that their lead endorser, Ryan Howard, is a butcher with a platoon split making 25 MM
Neither has his boss.
QUICK... Who's the one prospect that didn't pan out that you to this day cannot believe didn't pan out.
i noticed that you has the sox farm team ranked 17th while other people have them in the top 10. Any reason why their is such a large discrepency.
You'll have to ask those other people.
Keith, no question here, I just wanted to thank you for all the hard work you put into the 100 top prospect lists. This is the main reason why I subscribe to ESPN Insider and look forward to it all year. Again thank you.
You're welcome. Thank you for subscribing. It allows me to do something I love for a living.
Does Rio Ruiz have a chance to land on the top 100 in the future? How close was he this year?
Has a chance, yes. Not a consideration this year.
Can you explain why you don't believe in advanced metrics as much for players in the minors? Wouldn't there be a larger discrepancy of the quality of each pitcher's defense, etc.
Most of those metrics were developed and tested off major league data, where certain assumptions, like team defenses sitting within narrow bands of quality or official scorers being at all consistent, hold. For guys in the lower minors, it is also often true that they're not utilizing all their skills because they're working on improving areas of need, which could skew the data.
Arenado was 19th in the Texas Lg in OPS in 2012 at age 21, 15th in the Cal Lg in OPS in 2011 at age 20. Aside from scouting reports on energy level, what suddenly makes it "clear" he's not high-probability?
Aside from the flaws of OPS, you might want to consider that the Texas League has 20% fewer players than the Cal League.
Is Mark Montgomery (Yankees) a future closer?
Maybe ... but I find it hard to go all-in on him, because the slider is maybe a 55 pitch that plays up because hitters don't see the ball. I'd be more confident if the pitch itself was really a wipeout pitch, one that hitters would never fully adjust to seeing.
Would you say Olt's comp is Mark Reynolds except with a solid glove?
Not such a remorseless hacker as Reynolds is.
I feel like the Sox (and the fans) have some lofty expectations for Will Middlebrooks. Undoubtedly, he had a pretty good rookie year, but I fear a sophomore slump, especially in the OBP department. (Bill James projects his OBP at .316 - ouch.) What say you, both in the near and long-term?
I tend to agree with you that his OBP will be a problem for a while.
The Cubs have the #2 pick in the draft this year. Mark Appel, Ryne Stanek and Austin Meadows are all possibilities. Which player do you believe the Cubs should draft at that spot? Should they go with the best pitcher available to continue building depth in the organization or go with the best available player even if it isn't a pitcher?
You forgot Sean Manaea, Austin Wilson, maybe Jonathan Crawford ... it's early, way too early to narrow the list. They should just take the best player available.
Who hangs up: Mason Williams for Nick Castellanos. Essentially ranked in the same spot on the top 100, DET needs an OF and NYY needs a 3B.
Tigers, I think. Unless the Yankees don't think Castellanos could handle third, but I think he can.
Would Straily have made your list had he qualified? Where?
He qualified. Just didn't make it.
This year Starling Marte will A. be an average regular, B. be a rising star, C. end up struggling and losing at bats to the likes of Presley and Tabata?
Is there something better than C but worse than A available?
In a tweet recently you said that you weren't concerned with Strasburg's health moving forward, I'd imagine because of the success rate that comes along with Tommy John. I'd argue, however, that Strasburg has mechanical inefficiencies that put him at severe risk for more injuries. Namely, the inverted-w at foot-strike and his poor deceleration pattern (there's ample research on both of these mechanical flaws). My question to you is how much of an effort is put in on the part of scouts to stay up to date on advancements in the study of pitching mechanics and what role does that play in the projection of prospects?
That "research" is just opinions repeated ad nauseum online, made to sound better by some faux-scientific catchphrases (inverted-w at foot strike ... you mean his arm makes an M when he lands, Sir Murray?). I've also pointed out more than once that Strasburg's elbow just doesn't go as high as critics of his arm action say it does. I suspect some of the confusion is a function of camera angles; I can move around in the stands with my camera to give you the impression that the same pitcher's elbow peaks above, at, or below that of his shoulder.
As for whether teams stay on top of legitimate research on mechanics, yes, most of them do. But that's not really what you're discussing in Strasburg's case.
Speaking of RHPs- most likely to reach ceiling, Kyle Gibson, Kevin Gausman or Kyle Zimmer. And what might those ceilings be? Thanks. (Love your top 100 novels list)
Most likely, Gibson, but his ceiling is lowest. Zimmer might have the highest ceiling of the three but definitely carries the most risk. Hoping to do that long-promised fresh top 100 in the next two weeks, then a new Phoenix spring training dining guide.
Did Matt Skole receive any consideration for your list? His bat seems to be better than scouts predicted...not sure he is top 100 material, but could he be an average 3B/1B starter eventually?
No consideration. Old for his level this year. Not a zero, but more like an extra guy than a regular.
you are one of the few people that rate Robbie Grossman so high why?
An above-average defensive LF (can't handle CF, though) who can post a .375+ OBP is a good player, even if he only hits 12 HR a year. Not a star, but more than just a fringy regular.
How would the Netherlands infield look if you were the manager?
Ik zou krijgen de Nederlandse nationaliteit voor Mike Trout.
Does Gerrit Cole's fastballs "hittability" scare you at all? It seems like it was the same story in college and this past year. Although his numbers were solid and he was working on things in the meantime, do you think he overcomes that this year and starts to dominate? Or do you think his fastball will always be to hittable
Four-seamer is pretty true. Needs to work more with the two-seamer and changeup.
I did not see Michael Wacha in the top 100. Why didn't he make the cut and how close was he?
Lower ceiling than the arms on the list.
Syndergaard at the bottom of the list - meaning, you aren't too optimistic he'll develop the curveball?
yes, that is the primary reason he's not higher on the list.
Billy Hamilton 30? I understand he lacks power but very easily could be a terrific fielder and someone who could help the team by putting himself in scoring position with all his steals?
Has to get on base to get into scoring position, and guys with little power often struggle to get on base.
How many years away is Max Kepler from your top 100?
Assuming further growth, one.
Courtney Hawkins best Sox hitting prospect since... Chris Carter? Jeremy Reed? Joe Borchard? Robin Ventura/Frank Thomas?
Exactly. Been a while.
How come Taijuan Walker didn't get top 5 love?
Because there were more than five players better than he is.
Bichette Jr in the Majors by 2015?
Borderline NP at this point. Can't play third at all. Swing regressed back to its amateur state. He's not on my Yankees top 10, and wouldn't have been in the top 15.
Saw you made schmaltz recently. Any tips? Is it relatively easy to do for a novice cook?
Gotta slip at least one cooking question in here ... I actually made chicken stock, and the schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) separates from the stock when you chill it. I just skimmed it off the top and reserved it.
How does the top 100 play into the organizational rankings? Are there younger guys who you know will likely find themselves in the top 100 in the future or do you still give some weight to players outside the top 100 but who still will have some major league value? Not sure if I'm asking this clearly but I think you know what I'm getting at.
The top 100 is just a part of it - I consider each team's entire system when doing the org rankings.
My girlfriend bought me a dutch oven. Isn't this just a crock pot? What do I put in here?
A crockpot plugs into the wall. I own both. Both are great for long, slow braises, but you can also brown or sear things in the Dutch oven before braising. I also use the Dutch oven for deep frying.
Biggest pet peeve you'd love to see change in amateur (H.S in particular) coaches?
Pitch counts would be first. Also I'd like to never see a sacrifice bunt or intentional walk in another high school game for as long as I live.
With the podcast ending, will you or Eric take care of biased cat? i'm worried for his safety.
He's been ... taken care of.
After you finish the top 100, you feel a) happy/pleased b) sad/wish it didn't end c) like Maya at the end of ZD30
Nice analogy. Usually just relieved. It's a lot of work and starts to weigh on me mentally after a while. I did have a much easier time with it this year now that I'm getting treated for my anxiety disorder.
If you search "porn" on google images, you get a ton of pics of Yelich mid-swing
This is true but maybe you shouldn't try that at work.
How AWFUL is Baez's approach at the plate? I read your report, and you are optimistic he could develop, but how close is he to that big bust territory?
He can hit a lot of pitches. Just not all of them.
There's an ongoing internet debate about Fransisco Lindor: some argue he doesn't have much to offer other than a glove, others argue that he can develop the bat and be something like Barry Larkin Lite. To help us with the debate, what do you see in him (both present and future) that led you to putting him in the top 10?
Anyone who thinks he's glove-only is just makin' (stuff) up.
Would you be surprised if Danny Hultzen was on the big league roster to start the season?
Not at all.
What seperates Graham and Gilmartin?
About 10 mph.
Do you see Marcus Stroman in this list next year?
It's equally likely that he's no longer eligible because he's in the Blue Jays' pen.
One thing you wish high school coaches did more with their kids (I am one, aim me)
Taught pitchers to pitch off their fastballs and use their breaking balls less, even if it means they're a little less effective. Too easy to have your ace throw 40 sliders a game because HS kids can't sniff a good breaking ball.
Gigger waste of money? Matt Hobgood, Hayden Simpson, or Geraldo Concepcion
Concepcion was the worst of the three.
Did you ever watch Twin Peaks? I'm marathoning it on Netflix right now and it's fantasticly weird. Of note - they eat a staggering amount of pie on that show.
First season was amazing. After that it went off a cliff.
You still high on Tyrell Jenkins despite the down year? Any change in his ceiling for you?
Have to see him healthy. Loved the stuff and athleticism, but shoulder issues, even minor ones, scare me.
Would you rather have a pitcher who threw 100 MPH straight, or a pitcher who threw 80 mph with movement and had a change up that came in at 60?
The pitcher who threw 100 mph straight. The one who throws 80 mph would be lucky to escape complex ball.
We had a HS tourney with both Baez and Lindor playing in 2011 ... Baez looked better in every aspect. Who would you rather have on your team?
Baez is 11 months older, which might have had something, or everything, to do with that. I have Lindor rated much higher.
Don't see the top 100 on the ESPN MLB homepage. Link?
Did you consider Rafael De Paula as yankees sleeper?
How upset to you get when you see entire sections of your Top 100 cut and pasted on other websites. It would really piss me off, but I'm kind of easy to rile up.
It's theft. If you spot it somewhere, report it to the site admin or moderator - it violates federal law, and the site is liable if they don't take it down. There's no excuse for stealing content in any form.
Did the baseball today podcast get canceled or something?
Correct. Final show is Thursday with me and Eric.
What makes your list better than MLB.com's?
My list was written by me.
Go out on a limb - who are your top 3-5 prospects next year
I'd just move up whoever hasn't graduated from the list - Yelich, Bogaerts, Lindor, Russell, Walker.
Advice for soon to be dad?
Sleep while you can. After the baby comes, sleep whenever you can.
Given where you station yourself now, is it possible you have any unintended bias for / against prospects that play and train in AZ?
No, it is not possible.
What if people credit you for the content?
That would still be illegal. Even copying an article and pasting it into an email is illegal. I'm not saying copyright laws are perfect, but they exist and I don't know of any good argument for breaking them.
Also, Sage, when your 4 year old daughter screams at you and says 'You're a bad person' because you are trying to get her to go to bed, do not, in fact, think you are a bad person.
No. But make sure you still put her to bed on time.
Does it make sense to protect static data behind a paywall and keep time-sensitive events like chats free? Even though it violates federal law, static information like a list can and will be reposted all over the place. It's like trying to stop people from posting music files or skipping commercials on television-it's not possible no matter what the law says.
Argument by demanding impossible perfection. You don't have to stop the illegal activity entirely to make the law valid or sensible.
Who's the fifth prospect you like in the Nats organization?
He's on the top 100.
It's copyright infringement, not theft (a distinction that is too often not made).
Understood, yet the reason we drop the distinction is because "infringement" doesn't sound that bad, but people grasp that "theft" is.
On June 1st, Stephen Drew is lost for the season. Would you turn to Boegarts or give Iglesias a shot?
Sorry, still laughing that you gave him till June 1st...
Any hope for Cito Culver? Did that pick ever make ANY sense?
Minimal hope. Was not a fan of the pick at the time.
Is Giolito a candidate to take the biggest jump on this list within the next couple of years?
Yes, since I downgraded him entirely due to the surgery, from which he is expected to make a full recovery.
When do you start scouting for the draft?
Am I ridiculous for thinking that Trayce Thompson could be a poor man's Chris Young (good centerfield defense, 20-HR power, tons of K's)?
No, but a poor man's Chris Young doesn't play everyday in the majors.
Any thoughts on why Jeremy Hermida never amounted to much?
Approach was always too passive. Jaff Decker disease. At some point, you've gotta swing.
However, correct me if I'm wrong ... a very limited quotation from your Top 100 with a linkback to the original paid content IS fair, right? (like quoting the piece about prospect X)
Absolutely. I encourage it. I want people to read and discuss this stuff. Just don't copy and paste everything. I'm asking for common sense.
Does Chris Reed project to you as SP or RP? What is his outlook?
Was Bruce Rondon close to making this list?
No, and I discuss why in the Detroit section tomorrow. The top tens include a lot of commentary this year, which is why we're spreading them over two days.
KLaw - the computer projections I'm seeing for Adam Eaton far outpace his prospect rankings. Hidden value from HBPs, or are the computers missing something here?
I can't speak for HAL, but they may be struggling with his extremely hitter-friendly slate of home parks in the PCL. I actually like him quite a bit, but he's not a superstar either.
Were relievers such as Heath Hembree discounted because you do not value relievers as much as starters?
That's exactly right, except that the issue is that relievers are not as valuable as starters.
How many players did you seriously consider for the #1 spot on this year's list?
Three. But it wasn't a difficult choice.
Should we expect to see Houston selecting Carlos Rodon #1 in 2014 draft?
He's the leading candidate, but a lot can and will change in the next 16 months. At this point last year, Sean Manaea was a nobody. Now he might go first overall.
Brett Jackson any hope at all to be a first division regular? Or fourth-fifth OF at best?
I'd say extra outfielder. We'll see if the swing changes he allegedly has made amount to anything. My skepticism on him was always a function of his swing and thus his hit tool.
Appel still projected to go top 3?
He's the top guy on my board right now, but I wouldn't get too precise on projections this far out, especially the way that teams are working the money at the top of the draft.
I like your film reviews. I thought you nailed Django and others. I think its an undeveloped area of the online content world. Can you link to your "Curve" review? Watched it on plane last night and hated it, but i like to read thoughtful analysis (even of bad films).
Trouble with the Curve? Review here: http://klaw.me/QzQJIh Worst movie I saw him 2012.
Is the Angel's farm system as poor as it seems? isn't the low ranking the process of graduating the best player in baseball to the majors and moving a few higher prospects to the show or in trades? Are their low-ball teams devoid of talent as well?
They also got squat on the international market for years. Tony Reagins didn't leave them in great shape.
Can you explain the difference of baserunning skill and speed? I have seen you mention Hamilton vs. DJ Davis as an example. Is it possible for Davis to improve? Thank you.
Plenty of guys can run but can't run the bases - meaning, they are fast, but can't read pitchers, or read balls in play, to add value by taking extra bases.
Re: Kyle Zimmer. How concerning are bone chips in his case or any pitcher for that matter? Does more of his risk come from that or the lack of innings and exposure?
He had them removed last fall. Fully recovered.
How much of your projections are based on data and how much is subjective analysis? About how many of the top 100 have you actually been able to see play live? thanks.
I'd have to count but typically I've seen about 3/4 of the top guys live in the previous two seasons.
sorry, 3/4 of the top 100.
Which Masterson is more likely for 2013? 2011 or 2012.
I don't think 2011 Masterson is coming back.
What baseball skill is the toughest for you to evaluate and project? Is it different for every scout?
For hitters, the hit tool. For pitchers, fastball command.
Time to wrap this up - but I'll be back to chat again on Thursday to discuss the organizational top tens. Thanks for all the questions and for the time you've spent reading my stuff today, yesterday, and throughout the year. I appreciate it all, even if you still think I hate your teams.